Fresh from signing a new contract as the Hornets’ Head Coach, Javi Gracia has spoken to the watfordfc.com cameras in a wide-ranging interview.
The Spaniard reflected on his playing days, his arrival at Vicarage Road back in January, his relationship with the club’s owners and what the future might hold for the Hornets.
Watch the video below for more, and read on for some key points:
ON WHETHER HE PLOTTED HIS FUTURE AS A COACH WHILE PLAYING:
I never thought about that, it wasn't my target or my objective in that moment. I tried to enjoy being a player. Maybe at the end of my career I thought more like a coach than I did a player because I was a midfielder and many times from that position I was thinking about the strikers, about the midfielders, about all my mates. Maybe playing in that position, you start thinking more like a coach than a player.
ON HIS FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF WATFORD:
When I first arrived it was snowing, it was cold. But after that, I could see very good conditions to work in the training ground. I felt the ambition and the desire that the group of players had in that moment. It was a tough moment, because the results were bad in the last games. All of them had good feelings for the future and it was important in the beginning to improve the confidence and to improve the results as well.
ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GINO POZZO & SCOTT DUXBURY:
We have a good relationship. I have found people with good values, with ambition, with the desire to grow and in that moment it was important to me to feel that impression because it was a difficult moment but all of them were trying to improve the club, and me too. All of us were thinking in the same way and it was important to have a good relationship. For all of us the most important thing is the club and the team, and then it is easy to have a good relationship.
ON FALLING ILL PRIOR TO HIS FIRST LEAGUE GAME:
In that week I was at the hospital, but in the end I could go to Stoke and stay with the team. I think it was important I made the effort because in that moment, I thought it was necessary to be with the team and support them. We only got a point, but it was an important point for us. After that, the next game, day-by-day we were preparing for this game [against Chelsea]. We knew in that moment it would be very demanding, but we were able to improve day-by-day.
ON BUILDING TEAM SPIRIT DURING PRE-SEASON:
I think in pre-season it's important to put together the important rules, the important lines you want to keep during the season. It's important, it's the beginning and you have to take care of all the details, because after you can't do it. It was the moment when we spent more time together, when we had time to train a lot. To get to know each other better, and to grow a team from a group of players. When you talk about a team, it's not about 11 players. I think we are a good squad, but all of them are part of the team that we built up in the pre-season. For me, the best achievement in this moment is that all of the players we have feel a part of this team and that’s important for Watford.
ON MEETING WATFORD FANS OUT AND ABOUT:
Yes, sometimes I am asked for a photo or a signature, but I’m very pleased because all of the people are always very polite. For me it's a pleasure to take a photo with someone who supports us every weekend. It's a pleasure to do it.
ON WHETHER HE EVER GETS CROSS:
Many times – more times than you can think! But I try to be calm because I don’t think you are able to convince people better by shouting. I prefer to explain the things I want to explain and I think everybody prefers to listen and try to understand if you are not shouting.
ON THE FUTURE AT WATFORD:
I think in this moment, this team is doing a lot of things well, but they know that being demanding, we can improve and compete better day-by-day. That's our target, to be demanding and to be ambitious. We don't know what target we can achieve, but I believe in this group of players and I think we will be able to give our supporters something to enjoy with our play and our results as well.